PM / A-D: June – July 1938. The Bauhaus Tradition and the New Typography by Lester Beall & L. Sandusky.

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June – July 1938

The Bauhaus Tradition and the New Typography

Lester Beall and L. Sandusky

Robert L. Leslie and Percy Seitlin [Editors]: PM [An Intimate Journal For Art Directors, Production Managers, and their Associates]. New York: The Composing Room/P.M. Publishing Co., Volume 4, No. 7:  June – July 1938. Original edition. Slim 12mo. Perfect bound and sewn letterpressed wrappers. 76 pp. Illustrated articles and advertisements. Cover is 2-color original design by Bauhaus student M. Peter Piening. Wrappers lightly soiled, but a nearly fine copy.

5.5 x 7.75 perfect-bound digest with 44 [32] pages of articles and advertisements. This issue of PM rates a singular high point in the history of American Graphic design because it was the first published account in English of the Bauhaus Typographic philosophy. L. Sandusky wrote the text and Lester Beall provided the design work for the 34-page, 2-color insert that has become one of the standard bibliographic references for the cross-pollination of European and American avant-garde typography.

The Bauhaus Tradition and the New Typography feautres work by Wassily Kandinsky, Alexander Archipenko, Walter Gropius, Kasimir Malevich, El Lissitzky, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, Karel Teige, Piet Mondrian, Jan Tschichold, Paul Renner, Herbert Bayer, M. Peter Piening, Pierre Matisse, Tom Benrimo and others. While it seems common today to attach these names together under the common avant-garde umbrella, it was quite an intellectual stretch to merge the plastic arts of architecture, painting, typography, printing and sculpture into a coherent argument in 1938.

Lester Beall's layouts for this article are truly amazing-- A classic piece of original graphic design and one of the best instances of the synthesis of the European Avant-garde into the American consciousness.

This issue of PM also includes an article on Warren Chappell; A New Angle on Animation; A Specimen of Types by The Village Press; A Bibliography of The Village Press; and A Specimen of types - engraved & designed by The Village Press. Tthe PM / A-D Shorts column mentions  L. Sandusky, Lester Beall, The Art Squad, Leon Friend, Herbert Matter, M. Peter Piening, Paul Smith. Advertisers include The Composing Room, Intertype, Silvertone Process Corp., American Type Founders, Flower Electrotypes, Merganthaler - Linotype, Wilbar Photo Engravers, Ludlow Typograph, Reliance Reproduction.

This edition of PM is an amazing original example of American Graphic Design.

Lester Beall (1903 -1969) was way ahead of his time -- a Midwestern Constructivist! Self-taught in graphic design, Beall understood the varied tongues and aesthetic ideologies of the European avant-garde. His early work shows constructivist and Bauhaus  influences tempered lwith a Missourians' sense of control. In 1937, Beall became the first American designer to have a one man show at the Museum of Modern Art, featuring his silk-screened posters commissioned by the Rural Electrification Administration. After WWII, Beall exhibited great talent for communicating ideas and elevating the taste and expectations of his corporate clients-- always working with the idea that good design should be effective communication and good business.

PM magazine was the leading voice of the U. S. Graphic Arts Industry  from its inception in 1934 to its end in 1942 (then called AD). As a publication produced by and for professionals, it spotlighted cutting-edge production technology and the highest possible quality reproduction techniques (from engraving to plates). PM and A-D also championed the Modern movement by showcasing work from the vanguard of the European Avant-Garde well before this type of work was known to a wide audience.